Friday, January 29, 2010

Jo Jo Laine

In Memory of Wings Wife Jo Jo Laine article from November 10, 2006 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joe Viglione
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 08:54

Album Covers go directly into itself and will take you away from this page.

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Editor's note:On Oct. 29, 2006, on the 62nd birthday of her ex-husband, the aforementioned Moody Blues founder Denny Laine, Jo Jo Laine passed away. Hers was more than a rock 'n' roll life - her sparkling personality made her attractive to everyone she came in contact with. This is my story originally published in the North Shore Sunday, a Massachusetts Sunday paper published in the Gloucester/Rockport area.


In Memory of Jo Jo Laine

Photo of Jo Jo Laine with Rod Stewart by Joe Viglione at Four Seasons Hotel in Boston


At 14 years old, a young Joanne Patrie mailed a letter from her Danvers home to The Boston Herald defending John Lennon during the flap over his "We're more popular than Jesus now" quote. She escaped the strict household and her strong Christian upbringing at that age on a mission: to attend The Beatles/Bobby Hebb/Ronettes/The Cyrkle/The Remains concert at Suffolk Downs at Revere Beach, outside of Boston. The date was Aug. 18, 1966.

As an aspiring model she was helped by well-known regional photographer Ira Kaye, a man who became like an uncle to her and her children, a dependable rock in her life. Jo Jo also did modeling for Rex Trailer of "Boomtown" fame in the Boston area, gaining fame on the covers of international magazines. From the Boston Tea Party days she knew Jim Morrison of The Doors, met Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, and dated Rod Stewart before settling down with Denny Laine, founder of the Moody Blues and eventual guitarist in Paul McCartney's Wings.

As a wife of a rock star, Jo Jo was someone very special, an elite member of "the club," able to navigate through the inside track of rock 'n' roll superstardom. At a Led Zeppelin reunion in 1988 she talked with Robert Plant about old times at Madison Square Garden. At the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston Rod Stewart put us on the guest list for his show and played soccer with Jo Jo's oldest child, Laine Hines, on the Boston Common. Everyone loved being with Jo Jo, her classy savoir-faire was irresistible and fun.

She was one of the wittiest people this writer has ever met, the queen of the one-liners. One evening as she and Rolling Stones producer, Jimmy Miller, walked arm-in-arm into Club Cafe in Boston, a woman stopped her and - looking at the different-colored shoes (I think one was green and one was purple) - she said to Jo Jo, "I love your shoes." Jo Jo replied without skipping a beat, "Yes, they're like my sexual preference; I can't make up my mind!"
How could you not love a woman with so much verve? Not to mention nerve!

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She appears on record with Paul and Linda McCartney and Wings drummer Steve Holley, an album titled "Japanese Tears." Andy Summers and Sting of the Police are said to be on her PYE Records single, "Hulk" b/w "Dancing Man," and the great Ray Fenwick (of the Ian Gillan Band and Fancy) produced her Mercury 45, "When The Boy's Happy".

In 1986 Jo Jo recorded a few sides with Rolling Stones' producer Jimmy Miller including a cover of the Herman's Hermits hit "Something Good," Jo Jo changing the lyric to "I'm In For Something Good." Also recorded during those sessions were the songs "I Go Fast," "I Want You Sexually" and a version of Eddie Cochran's "Something Else."

Jo Jo appeared on "The Shirley Show" in Canada, Visual Radio in Boston in the 1990s, and was taped by Dan Clapton for a special on Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon for British satellite TV in 2005. She was writing her memoirs "I'm In For Something Good: The Jo Jo Laine Story" at the time of her passing at St George's Hospital in Great Britain on Oct. 29.
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Jo Jo will be remembered for her vibrant charm, her passion for life, and her sophistication. She liked to put on the "Alexis Carrington" persona that Joan Collins played so well on "Dynasty," but under the act she had a heart of gold. Born on July 13, 1952, Jo Jo was 54 at the time of her passing.

In the aftermath This writer told Jo Jo that I was all prepared for her passing - a close friend who seemed indestructible. Now I truly know what denial is. Never did I think she would leave us, nor would I understand how hard it is losing someone that had become such a big part of my life.

Both of us went through the agony of losing sisters and both of us could cry on each other's shoulders in time of need. A true friend, she was always there to listen 24/7. I would show up at 5 in the morning and Jo Jo would be overjoyed to see me. Now that's a friend. We were always welcome in each other's homes any time of day. How do you replace that kind of connection when it is taken from you in a flash?

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The Beatles songs were always a constant source of strength and, along with our love for The Rolling Stones, the music that had brought us together was a common thread that we both understood more than most. Scenester Helanie Saad bought us both tickets to The Rolling Stones in Foxboro back in 1994 - I remember the night was very cold, Jo Jo and I looking at all the merchandising Mick & the boys had on sale. A framed photo of the group with a stamped "autograph" went for a couple of hundred bucks! We were stunned.

It's tough to impress the woman who would dip into the briefcase backstage at McCartney & Wings concerts to grab a bunch of tickets to hawk on the street just for fun. At most major concerts the promoters hold back a certain number of tickets until the day of the show; she told me in September of this year how she would sell the tickets on the street - the wife of the rock star having fun because she could - buying things for drummer Joe English and the late Jimmy McCulloch, guitarist of Wings.

"Paul & Linda and Denny (her husband) had no idea what I was up to," she said. Hilarious. The wife of the rock star outside the concert hall hawking tickets! They were millionaires but she couldn't resist being a little bit naughty for show and for fun - shades of Colonel Tom Parker allegedly doing the same at Elvis concerts with merchandising.

Jo Jo Laine was a rock star, a "superstar," as TV producer Dan Clapton stated emphatically. While there are many rock women whose only claim to fame was who they slept with, Jo Jo, like producer Jimmy Miller, was many cuts above the rest. In a league all her own.

A fantastic personality with the ability to captivate people - the life of the party - Jo Jo would morph into many personas. The British press, unfairly, would use the "groupie" word, but the U.K. press often loves to drop to the lowest common denominator. Respect is not in their vocabulary - it's all about shock value and selling papers, no matter how the survivors feel reading about their mom or best friend in the newspaper.

Yes, Jo Jo knew how to shock - the "good stuff"isn't in the British press, nor will I print it here in this memorial - and we had some pretty wild times, both good and bad. That's life. At the end of the day, our friendship was strong and deep.

Getting that call Jo Jo kept the seriousness of her illness from me. At Uncle Ira's birthday party in May at the Kowloon in Saugus, her mother, Helen, told me confidentially how bad things were health-wise for my dear friend. Jo Jo said "Oh, mother's being dramatic," but she wasn't. Helen knew how much her daughter meant to me and was kindly preparing me for the worst. Uncle Ira also was the voice of reason, warning me that the end was near.

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I didn't want to believe it.

Jo Jo the indestructible could beat this. She was upbeat on the phone to me. She was funny! She was the same Jo Jo I considered (and still consider) one of my best friends of my entire life.

There are so many great stories - Jo Jo playing with the band GEAR that Jimmy Miller produced; her appearing on V-66 in Boston with this writer, a wonderful interview we will re-broadcast. Her 14-year-old friend from 1966 that ran off with her to see The Beatles perform found Jo Jo again in August of 2006, 40 years later, thanks to Jo Jo loved her Myspace, and her original page was amazingly popular with tons of musicians finding her again.

The page crashed when MySpace had the brownout back in the summer. So did Jimmy Miller's page. We re-built them. Her children, Heidi-Jo Hines, Laine Hines (both from her marriage to Denny Laine) and Boston O'Donohue re-built a new page - - with some of the songs from her album "The Best Of Jo Jo Laine" available on that site. We had just struck a deal with the Washington, DC label "Foldback Records" to release "The Best of Jo Jo Laine," and were working on her book.

You don't expect to get that phone call with the news - Jo Jo's gone. I'm shell-shocked. The indestructible Jo Jo Laine taken from me and the world with a fall down the steps at her old house at Yew Corner.

You can call it coincidence that "Penny Lane" and the Boz Scaggs song "Jo Jo" came on the satellite radio at the bagel shop the day she died - tears pouring from my eyes, the tears I swore to her I would not cry. [continue] The very special Jo Jo Laine has moved on to the next plane of existence, but she hasn't forgotten us. I was in denial that she was ill; I am in denial that she is gone. You had to have known her to know what a very special woman she was. As Uncle Ira said to me on the day we lost our Jo Jo, "There will never be another one like her."


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:58

1 comment:

  1. i was her LA buddy, we had a blast, we met in boston,
    alwys and forever my love
    sweeet william